Reviews: Taken and Australia

In reverse order of what we watched….

Australia

This is a great tribute to the power of the trailer to get people to watch a movie. Unfortunately, it’s all down hill from there….

The Good

Hmmm…. I like Hugh Jackman. Always have. Some of the shots were incredible, and the historical elements were enjoyable. And like I said, the trailer was great.

The Bad

It’s not so much that the film had little good, but rather that its construction left so much wanting that the good is erased by the weak plot line.

The movie starts out clearly defining its purpose as a discussion of the Lost Generation, a group of half-aboriginal, half-white children in Australia. Intriguing and a story I would like to hear. Then it makes an extremely awkward jump to England several years prior, and the story becomes about a woman trying to save her ranch in Australia. Then, not 30 seconds later, the jump to England becomes entirely irrelevant and we find ourselves back in Australia worried about a cattle drive. From there we go to trying to solve a ruined marriage, then the war, and back to the Lost Generation. In the background is the common theme of bad guy trying to get the ranch.

The plot line takes numerous twists and turns throughout, and each time I found myself wondering if we had finally settled into the purpose of the film. Uh, no. I counted no less than six major plot lines all jumbled together in this film, and the transitions from one to the next were not done well. They were so poorly done that when the film suddenly returned to the Lost Generation at the end of the film, I had completely forgotten the original purpose and story. And that one word–forgotten–might be the single most descriptive word for this film. Or at least forgettable.

Final Review

All in all, I guess it wasn’t really that bad, but it certainly wasn’t that good. 1.5 stars only because Hugh Jackman is so cool. If you’ve missed it, don’t really worry about going back to pick it up.

Taken

When we first saw the previews for Taken, we were very excited. It just looked interesting.

The Good

Liam Neeson has a great voice. Funny that I disliked that voice in Chronicles of Narnia, but there you have it. His acting is a little stilted, but he makes a great no-nonsense, get-it-done dad.

The action is fun and exciting, and I even told Courtney afterward that a movie like that makes me think Liam Neeson’s hot. Enough happens to make you doubt a successful conclusion often enough that you are pleased when it finally comes to a crashing halt at the end.

And that’s all I’ll say for fear of spoilers….

The Bad

The daughter is a spoiled brat. She also, in my mind, acted much closer to a younger teen than the 17-year-old she was supposed to be. I really disliked her, but she worked for the film as the naive American in Europe.

Part of the energy of the film is the belief that something truly bad is happening to the daughter. I mention this in the negative section only to state that the idea is uncomfortable. I won’t push this particular spoiler any more except to say that the potential of it happening drives this film and really grabs at the parent side of my nature. As one coworker said, the danger is presented in such a way that you find yourself cheering with each pull of the trigger, and the energy behind that enthusiasm is what makes this film work.

The only other comment I’ll make here is that the plot is really no better than a standard Steven Seagal except that it’s not. The plot isn’t more ingenious, different, special, or otherwise except that Liam Neeson, who plays and acts the part so much like Steven Seagal would have, carries it in a way Steven Seagal has only done in his best dreams. Where Steven Seagal leaves you bored by the monotony of the action, Liam Neeson leaves you excited by the continued flow of each scene; a subtle but critical difference.

Final Rating

An easy 3.5 stars. I’d give it 4, but the film starts a little slow and the acting a little stilted. It’s fairly violent, and deserving of its PG-13 rating as well, though I seem to remember fairly little language. If I had to categorize it, it’s definitely a Friday night action movie worth a big bowl of popcorn.

Make that two bowls… I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

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3 Responses to Reviews: Taken and Australia

  1. Travis says:

    Aleisha and I are surprised you liked Taken. It was pretty rough. We LOVED it, but that would not have been one that I would have ever recommended to you.

  2. Robert says:

    I’ve wanted to see Taken, but my wife things the heavy subject matter will make it a miserable viewing experience. Maybe your review will help change her mind.

  3. Cami says:

    Austrailia was a little long. It was like that Benjamin Button movie, they tried to put too much into the film. I like the old adage “Less is more”. If they had done less, it would have been an awesome movie. As it is, it was pretty good but not one that I would watch again.

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